Do you cook grains often? Whether it is white rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, chickpea, lentil, or barley, we cook them in a cooking liquid like water or stock, right? Usually, they take at least 15 minutes to cook through depending on the volume. Almost any types of grains require to be cooked in a boiling cooking liquid and then simmer until the liquid is completely absorbed. Interestingly, couscous is different.

You don’t actually “cook” couscous. You bring a cooking liquid to a boil. Remove it from the heat, then stir in the couscous and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes. That’s it. Technically, it’s steamed, not cooked. That’s why making a couscous side dish is so much easier and faster.

Today, I’d like to share a delicious couscous recipe that you can make in just 20 minutes. This Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous is packed with vegetables so that you can pair it with any types of meat, seafood or have it with chicken. I made a big batch the other day. Having something like this in the fridge is a huge help for meal planning. At least, I don’t even have to think about lunch on a busy day. The couscous is so flavorful by itself that it’s not going to be a boring lunch at work if you pack it to go. I promise!

Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Since we are going to mix couscous with vegetables, you want to choose the right type of vegetables for this recipe. Generally speaking, a mix of frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets will work great. But I found that Asian-style stir fry vegetable mix works best due to the variety of the items such as broccoli, baby corn, mushroom, carrots, green beans. Some of them even contain water chestnut. So if you can find Asian stir fry frozen vegetables, definitely use that.

To start off, microwave a 10-12 ounce package of frozen vegetable mix according to the package instruction. If you’ve got a bigger package like I do, place about 2 cups of vegetable mix in a microwave-save container and microwave it on high for 4-5 minutes. Remember to use oven mitts or a kitchen cloth when you take it out. It’s going to be very hot. This will easily allow the vegetables to thaw thoroughly and become soft.

Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Once the vegetables are cooled down a little, chop them up into small pieces. Coat the vegetable pieces with a little olive oil and roast them in the oven at 425°F for 10 -12 minutes or so. The oven will help get rid of the steam and the water from the vegetables as well as add some nice crispness in the dish.

While the vegetables are in the oven, you can work on the couscous quickly. I used chicken broth as the cooking liquid for this recipe. If you are vegan, feel free to substitute vegetable broth for it. Before boiling the broth, let’s cook some red onion and corn kernels in a saucepan, season with some chipotle adobo sauce, salt, and pepper to add some additional flavor. If you want, stir a half cup of frozen sweet peas with 3/4 cup plain couscous into the cooking liquid after a rapid boil. Sweet peas thaw and cook really fast. 5 minutes of steaming time with the couscous will totally cook them.

Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Lastly, mix together the roasted vegetables and the cooked couscous. Complete the dish with a little lemon zest and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice! YUM!

If you get a chance to make this Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous, please leave a comment or share your photo on Instagram with our hashtag #StreetSmartKitchen. I would love to see your couscous masterpiece! Happy cooking as always!

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Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Chipotle Roasted Vegetable Couscous

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  • Author: Sharon Chen
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Side, Vegetarian, Vegan
  • Cuisine: American
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Couscous cooked in chicken broth or vegetable broth with Chipotle adobo sauce and mixed with roasted vegetables.


Units Scale
  • 12 ounces frozen Asian stir fry vegetable mix (broccoli, baby corn, mushroom, carrots, green beans)
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup lower-sodium chicken broth / vegetable broth (I used homemade broth.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle Adobo sauce
  • 3/4 cup plain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Microwave vegetables on high for 5 minutes. Then chop into small pieces. Place on baking tray; coat with 1 tablespoon oil. Bake 10–12 minutes, stirring once halfway through, or until lightly browned.
  2. Preheat a medium saucepan on medium-high 1–2 minutes. Place remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan, then add onions and corn; cook and stir 2–3 minutes or until onions are softened. Add chicken broth, season with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and pepper, add Chipotle Adobo sauce; bring to a boil.
  3. Remove pan from heat; stir in couscous, cover, and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, zest/grate lemon peel and squeeze lemon for juice (2 tablespoons).
  4. Fluff couscous with a fork; fold in (stir gently) roasted vegetables, zest, and juice. Enjoy!


For a vegan version, use vegetable broth as the cooking liquid. This recipe can also be made with quinoa for a gluten-free version. To cook quinoa, at step 2, add 1/2 uncooked quinoa into the saucepan with the onions and corn kernels, followed by 1 cup broth. Bring it to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender.


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 201
  • Sugar: 4.7g
  • Sodium: 301mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.4g
  • Fiber: 5.1g
  • Protein: 6.2g
  • Cholesterol: 1mg

About the Author

Sharon Chen is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and author of the Complete Sous Vide Cookbook. She believes food not only brings healing but also connection. As the creator of StreetSmart Kitchen, she aims to make meal prep easier than ever and help you find balance, ease, joy, and simplicity in the kitchen as you improve your well-being.